Are you looking at which CMS platform to use for building your website?
A CMS (Content Management System) platform lets you easily create a website without understanding any code (at least for most of them). There are lots of CMS options available, which means you might struggle to choose the best CMS for your needs.
A CMS platform (content management system) is a piece of software that allows you to easily manage content and create a website.
provides capabilities for multiple users with different permission levels to manage (all or a section of) content, data or information of a website project, or intranet application.
Managing content refers to creating, editing, archiving, publishing, collaborating on, reporting, distributing website content, data and information.
CMS platforms solve this problem by allowing you to make a website without writing code or learning programming.
Unless of course, you’re looking for a developer-friendly CMS which means you already know how to code.
There are lots of different CMS platforms out there, so which one should you pick? Before you we jump to our CMS platform comparison, here is what you should look for in a good CMS.
Ease of use
You want a CMS that makes it easy for you to create and edit content.
It should be quick and straightforward for you to make changes to the content on your site after publishing it.
Your CMS software should offer you plenty of website design templates to choose from. It should also allow you to easily customize those designs to your own requirements (ideally without writing code).
A great CMS platform should have tools for you to easily export your data and move it elsewhere.
For instance, you may later decide to choose a different platform or a different hosting company. It must be easier for you to move around with complete freedom.
Extensions and addons
Not all websites are the same. This is why it is impossible for any CMS platform to come with all the features that would fulfil requirements for every website.
Extensions and addons fix that problem. These are separate software that you can just install on your CMS software to extend its features and add new ones when needed. Think of them as apps for your CMS platform.
Help and support options
Although CMS platforms aim to make building a website as straightforward as possible, you still might have some questions. Find out what help and support is available if you get stuck.
Some CMS providers will have a handful of FAQs and a customer service team that’s painfully slow to respond. Others will have a big supportive community that can help you any time of the day or night.
How much does it cost?
Some CMS platforms are completely free. Others charge a monthly fee. Even with free CMS platforms, you’ll often need to pay for third-party extensions, designs, and/or web hosting services.
WordPress.org is our number one choice for the best CMS platform. It’s the world’s most popular CMS software, and it powers around 35% of all websites on the internet.
It’s important to not confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. WordPress.org is a free open source CMS originally designed for blogging, but now it’s used by all sorts of websites / online stores. WordPress.com is a blog hosting platform.
If you’re not sure about the difference between the two, check out our detailed comparison of WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Note: When we talk about WordPress on WPBeginner, we normally mean WordPress.org. We specify WordPress.com where appropriate.
You need to host your WordPress site yourself, which means finding a suitable WordPress hosting provider.
WordPress itself doesn’t cost anything. However, you’ll need a domain name (around $9 – $15 per year) and a hosting account with a web host that can run WordPress (normally from $7.99/month).
We have a special deal with Bluehost where you can get WordPress hosting for just $2.75/month which includes a free domain and free SSL.
If you need some help getting your WordPress site started, check out our guide on how to make a website with step by step instructions.
Joomla is another popular free open source CMS platform that comes with lots of different templates and extensions. It’s free to use, but you’ll need hosting and a domain name.
It was first released in 2005, so like WordPress, it’s been going for years. Joomla is packed with features, and many web hosts offer a 1 click installation. However, it’s really an ideal CMS platform for developers and experienced website creators, so it’s not such a good option for beginners.
Joomla itself is free, though you’ll need to pay for a domain name and web hosting that supports Joomla. SiteGround is a good option here, as they have specific Joomla hosting plans with lots of handy features.
You may find yourself paying for some extensions to add more functionality to your website. You might even want to budget for getting help from a developer, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Drupal is another open-source CMS platform. It’s the CMS behind some major websites, including The Economist’s site and a number of university’s sites.
Drupal is a good option for developers, or for people able to hire a developer. It’s especially good if you’re aiming to build a highly customized site that needs to handle a lot of data.
You can host a Drupal site on SiteGround. They offer free installation and can even help you transfer an existing Drupal site.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world. It’s really flexible and it’s easy to manage.
WooCommerce isn’t technically a CMS platform itself. Instead, it runs as a plugin on WordPress, so you’ll need to have WordPress on your site in order to install WooCommerce.
If it was a CMS platform, though, it’d have 5.8% of market share, according to W3Techs. That’s the percentage of all the websites in the world that use it.
The WooCommerce plugin itself is free, but you may need to pay for extra plugins and extensions for your online store.
You’ll also need to pay for a domain name and a web hosting account. Bluehost is a great web host to pick as they’ll install WooCommerce and the Storefront theme for your site for you.
Shopify is another all-in-one hosted CMS platform. You won’t need to buy hosting, install any software, or manage things like updates and backups.
It has a straightforward drag and drop interface. It supports in-store sales, which is great if you have a physical store as well as an online one.
Shopify’s pricing plans are similar to BigCommerce’s options. There’s one major difference, though. Shopify doesn’t make you move up to the next plan based on a certain dollar figure in sales.
The cheapest plan is $29/month. The most expensive is $299/month and includes more features. You get a discount for paying for a year upfront.
Magento is a powerful open-source eCommerce platform from the huge software company Adobe. There’s a free version you can download and install on your own web hosting account, called Magento Open Source.
If you want to use this, then SiteGround Magento hosting would be the easiest way to get started.
If you prefer, then you can pay for Magento Commerce. This comes with full support and is hosted for you, but it’s very expensive.
Magento Commerce isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s so pricy that the Magento website doesn’t even tell you what it costs.
Prices start at around $22,000/year, which puts it outside the budget of many new businesses. If you want a powerful eCommerce CMS platform for an established business, though, it could be an option to consider.
However many larger stores are migrating to either WooCommerce, Shopify, or BigCommerce.
Wix is a popular CMS platform, though it has some limitations. We often get readers asking how to switch from Wix to WordPress that’s because every smart business owner knows that WordPress is definitely better than Wix.
With that said, Wix is beginner-friendly and it might be worth considering. It offers a free plan, too.
You can use Wix for free if you’re happy with a Wix-branded domain name and ads running on your site. The paid plans offer more flexibility and start from $13 per month (paid upfront annually).
If you want to take online payments, you’ll need to pay $23/month or more (again, upfront annually).
Blogger has been around since 1999. As you can tell from the name, it’s a CMS platform that’s specifically geared up for blogging. It’s a free service provided by Google.
Blogs on Blogger normally have Blogspot in the domain, though it’s possible to use your own domain name instead.
We’ve got an article looking at WordPress vs Blogger and a guide on how to switch from Blogger to WordPress.
Blogger is completely free and you won’t be charged anything unless you choose to buy a custom domain name.
If you do buy a domain name, it’s best to get it from a domain registrar, not from Blogger itself. That way, you can more easily move your site away from Blogger in the future.
Bitrix24 is a business tool that offers a CMS platform alongside other features like the ability to manage your tasks, projects, communications, and customer relationships.
It’s free at the basic level (which offers up to 5GB of online storage and 12 user accounts) and offers an all-in-one solution for small businesses. If you want a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, it could be a good choice.
The Start+ plan costs $24/month, and the Professional plan costs $199/month, with a range of options in between. You get a discount if you pay for the year upfront.
You can also opt to purchase the software to use within your organization (instead of paying a monthly fee and using it online). This costs from $1,490.
TYPO3 is a free, open-source CMS platform that has been around even longer than Blogger. It was originally released in 1998. It’s an enterprise CMS, which means it’s useful for intranet sites (internal company sites) as well as websites.
There are a number of extensions available for TYPO3 that offer extra functionality, too.
PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce CMS platform. You host it yourself, so you can install it on any web host that supports it. We recommend using SiteGround’s PrestaShop hosting.
PrestaShop is free, though you’ll need to pay for your web hosting and a domain name. The modules and themes available through the PrestaShop Addons Marketplace could add up a lot, though. Most start from $59.99.